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Lot 0041
Pre-Columbian, Gulf Coast of Mexico, Veracruz culture, ca. 500 to 700 CE. Wow! An incredibly expressive and detailed head from the Veracruz tradition. This is a sculpture of a smooth, young face, its eyes downcast, its mouth slightly open. Under straight, pronounced brows, with a prominent nose, the face gives the overriding impression of someone who is either dead or unconcious, perhaps in a drug-induced state. A fringe of sculpted hair hangs below a wide, smooth headdress. A single large spool earring is in the remaining ear; presumably it once had a matching pair. Size: 7" W x 7.5" H (17.8 cm x 19 cm); 10.05" H (25.5 cm) on included custom stand.

This figure combines the amazing style of the Veracruz, who had the ability to combine hyper-realistic features. Excavations near the modern Mexican town of Remojadas have revealed two types of impressive, detailed pottery figures from the Veracruz period: the Sonrientes, the joyous "smiling faces", and figures like this one, more serious, mostly adult figures, with elaborate costumes, themes, and sometimes props that all seem to point towards religious or political ceremonies. These figures are often found with the bodies smashed into pieces and the heads largely intact - they were ritually destroyed as burial offerings. Their clothing suggests that they depict people of import in society, maybe priests or nobility.

Provenance: private Denver, Colorado, USA collection; purportedly ex Bonhams Auction, long ago

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Stable crack on back of headdress. One ear is lost, and there is also a loss from the lower back. Otherwise in excellent condition, with fine root marks.

Starting Bid


Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

Large / Very Fine Veracruz Terracotta Head

Estimate $900 - $1,200Mar 1, 2018
686 S. Taylor Avenue Suite 106
Louisville, CO 80027
United States
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